Armenia and Azerbaijan 

It’s probably Azerbaijan that started the shooting in this latest round of fighting with neighboring Armenia. Which is not to say that it’s all Azerbaijan’s fault.

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The last days of the Old Middle East

President Donald Trump declared “the dawn of a new Middle East” in Washington on Tuesday as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrein signed public agreements with Israel for the first time.

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Boris Johnson’s cunning plan

“I’ve got a plan so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel,” said Blackadder’s sidekick Baldrick in the BBC’s brilliant historical comedy series ‘Blackadder’. In fact, he said “I have a cunning plan” in almost every episode, but the plans hardly ever worked, and it became a popular catch-phrase.

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Losing both elections

“To lose one parent…may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness,” wrote Oscar Wilde in his play ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ in 1895.

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Miracle vaccine

Nine of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies have just promised not to apply for regulatory approval for any new Covid-19 vaccine before it has gone through all three phases of clinical study. Why would they do such a thing?

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‘Residential schools’

‘Residential schools’ were a common feature of European settler societies (except New Zealand) until quite late in the 20th century, and their purpose was not just to educate but to ‘deracinate’ their aboriginal pupils: that is, to cut them off from their roots. The Chinese government would reject the analogy with its last breath, but it is now doing the same thing.

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Erdoğan At Bay

There are eight Turks for every Greek, so you might think the Greeks have to fold. But Greece has the backing of France, Italy, Israel, Egypt, and practically every other country in the eastern Mediterranean and the Arab world, as well as the entire European Union, so it has just called the bet and raised it.

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India: The weight of history

“India is emotional as decades of wait has ended,” declared India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, laying the cornerstone of a new temple in Ayodhya a week ago. “For years our Ram Lalla (the infant Lord Ram) lived beneath a tent; now he will reside in a grand temple.” As if infants cared about the size of their dwelling.

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Lebanon meltdown

Beirut has been living with car bombs and air raids on a sporadic but continuing basis for so long that it would probably make sense to rebuild this time with shatterproof glass. The torrent of broken glass falling from a thousand shattered buildings probably accounted for half the 158 dead found so far in Beirut, and certainly for most of the 6,000 wounded.

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An October surprise

An “October Surprise” in the United States is now almost inevitable, because that will be Donald Trump’s last chance to get re-elected legitimately. He might try to cling to office even if he loses the vote, but it would be a lot easier and neater if he actually won a majority in the Electoral College on 3 November.

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PSC, NSAs tackle nat’l athletes training

The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) said Friday it has begun meeting with officials of national sports associations (NSAs) on how national athletes could resume their training in their bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Confed backs call to halt importation

The Confederation of Sugar Producers said they are happy that more sugar stakeholders are against sugar importation and enjoined other industry players to be united in urging the government to stop its importation program, at least until the next crop year.

‘Deploy 288 nurses to Bacolod’

Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia has asked the National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 to deploy more nurses to local hospitals as the city government continues to strengthen efforts to reduce local cases of the coronavirus.